Fall camp report, Aug. 11

News and notes from Wisconsin's first practice of the season

Joe Thomas is the Badgers' starting left tackle. He may be listed on Wisconsin's official depth chart in an either/or position with incumbent Morgan Davis and the Badgers' coaches may insist that this is still an open battle, but Joe Thomas is the starter. Thomas took every snap with the first unit at left tackle Wednesday, the Badgers' first day of practices at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Center in Madison.

Jake Wood, who Thomas supplanted as the No. 2 left tackle last fall, is now Thomas' backup at the position. Davis rotated with Mike Lorenz as a first-team right tackle.

Joining Wood on the second-team offensive line were mainstays left guard Matt Lawrence and center Jason Palermo, along with redshirt freshmen right guard Marcus Coleman. Lorenz and Davis also split reps at right tackle, along with redshirt freshman Andrew Weininger.

True freshman Kraig Urbik made his Badger debut at right guard, and was joined on the third-team offensive line by center Luke Knauf, left tackle Danny Kaye, left guard Randy Gyllin and right tackle Mike Van Someren.

Wisconsin practiced in shorts and helmets Wednesday in unseasonably chilly weather. Assorted notes from the opening practice:

  • Marcus Randle El looked fluid as a wide receiver. His hands were not always true, but he did showed flashes of his much-hyped athleticism and made a nice catch on a deep post pattern.
  • Joe Walker introduced himself to college football with a one-handed catch on a go route early in pass catching drills.
  • Chris Pressley, recruited as a possible tailback or fullback, played exclusively at tailback.
  • Only so much can be shown in the first practice of the season, but James' looked good. He displayed a burst in drills and was more happy than can be put into words when discussing his return to the field. The Badgers' depth along the front four could be truly special this season.
  • Jack Ikegwuonu began his UW career as a free safety and took a lot of reps with the third defense.
  • Jonathan Orr had two long touchdown receptions in 9-on-9 drills, including one where he outran the corner and free safety to get to the ball.
  • Josh Balts made a nice leaping catch along the sidelines.

Wisconsin added four players to its roster with walk-on freshmen punter/kicker Adam Schober, quarterback Craig Meier, wide receiver David Mortensen and linebacker Ben Landgraf.

Four players who worked out with the team during spring practices were not on the fall camp roster but are expected to be added to the team when classes start and the allowable roster expands. They are safety Brad Lantagne, cornerback Nate Egholm, tight end Matt Brown and linebacker Victor Meckstroth. In addition, freshman walk-on receiver Jeff Treslley will join the team when classes commence.

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